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Judy Dworin Performance Project To Present EMERGENCE At Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

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Emergence is being offered as part of the Connecticut's Summer Museums program.

Judy Dworin Performance Project To Present EMERGENCE At Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

For fourteen months, residents of Connecticut got a tiny taste of what involuntary confinement feels like. With that changed perspective, we can perhaps better understand the burden of isolation experienced by those in prison.

Emergence is Judy Dworin Performance Project's (JDPP) newest site-specific dance theater performance project inspired by the Solitary Garden installation at Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. Created by New Orleans artist jackie sumell, Solitary Garden is a living work of art installed in honor of author Albert Woodfox, recipient of the 2020 Stowe Prize, and his memoir, Solitary, which tells the story of his incarceration and solitary confinement for 43 years for a crime he did not commit.

Emergence premieres October 9-10, 2021, and features members of the JDPP collective cast, including JDPP Ensemble artists and guests from the community that include returned citizens who participated in JDPP residencies while incarcerated.

This will be JDPP and HBSC's first presenting partnership. Set against the backdrop of the Solitary Garden and moving through the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center's grounds, performers will use movement, song, and spoken word to narrate and illustrate the story of emerging from experiences of enforced isolation, and of reconnecting with community and loved ones. There are two programs offered of Emergence: Program 1, Saturday, will focus on songs generated through JDPP's work at York Correctional Institution for women with a sampling of spoken word and dance from returned citizen artists and others; and Sunday will present a dance theater work germinated in York residencies as well as from the experience of those returned from prison.

"For pandemic-weary audiences, this story ought to resonate," explains JDPP Executive & Artistic Director, Judy Dworin. "Individuals and families impacted by incarceration feel this kind of isolation all the time, and the rest of us have been given a chance to consider, 'What is the impact of disconnection?' Through this performance, we are showing what it takes to survive and emerge back into community. We have an opportunity to make change and rebuild our communities and relationships for the better."

Emergence is being offered as part of the Connecticut's Summer Museums program offering free admission to children under 18 and one accompanying adult. "We are so thrilled to be able to make this very special two days of performances free to our audiences," says Amy Hufnagel, director of public programming at HBSC. "It's a public investment in arts and culture that we really need right now." Tickets are available at https://give.judydworin.org/Emergence.

On-site rehearsals began in July 2021 and will continue through early October. The HBSC grounds are open free to the public during regular operating hours. In addition, JDPP offered an open Zoom rehearsal on September 9 with conversation with the cast, a strategy developed in 2020 during pandemic lockdown that proved to be popular. "Our audiences and stakeholders really enjoyed experiencing how the work took shape over time," notes Dworin. "We have made substantial investments in the technology that allows us to reach people in their homes, from anywhere in the world, and we will keep reaching out, now that geography isn't an issue."

JDPP has produced over 20 full-evening performances since 1989, as well as numerous shorter pieces. Their award-winning work has been seen throughout Connecticut and New England, as well as in New York and internationally, under the artistic direction of Judy Dworin in collaborationwith Associate Artistic Director Kathy Boreck Gersten and members of the JDPP Ensemble. The cast features JDPP Ensemble members Lisa Matias, Mellissa Craig, and Haley Fabrycki joined by Eli Behlman, Robert Byrd, Robin Cullen, Karen Guillet, Lori LeDonne, Tyran Sampson, and Yalines Torres.

Other Emergence collaborators include visual designer Marcela Oteíza, sound designer and engineer Ritz Ubides, and videographer PJ Brockett. Production of Emergence is supported in part by the Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, and generous private donors. JDPP receives operating support from CT DECD Office of the Arts, Greater Hartford Arts Council, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, J. Walton Bissell Foundation, and other supporters. For a complete list of funders, please visit www.judydworin.org.


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